It is a mystery to me why the name of Nulo Mahonen appears on the New Hampshire WWI Honor Roll, in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House. The presence of a name on that bronze plaque usually indicates that the service man or woman was a native, lived in the state, enlisted from a New Hampshire city or town, or had close family here. I can find none of these reasons. So let me tell you about this mystery man.
Nülo Muhonen first appears on a ship’s passenger list, when he arrived in Boston MA on the ship Ivernia from Liverpool England on 10 Nov 1904. At that time he was 2-years old, born in Finland, arriving with his mother Olga, sister Anna aged 8 and brother Oscar aged 4. Olga stated she is going to meet her husband Vihtori [Victor] who lives in Quincy, Mass.
By the 1910 U.S. Census, Nülo Muhonen is listed as a “state ward” placed with the Ford family in Chesterfield, Hampshire Co. MA. In looking for his parents, I discovered that his father Victor Mahonen, widow, died 23 Jan 1910 in Bridgewater State Farm, Bridgewater MA of pulmonary TB, with his body being given to Tufts Medical School (so Nülo apparently was an orphan by the beginning of 1910. His older siblings, if still alive, would only be in their early teens). The death certificate of Nülo’s father, however shows me that his grandparents were Elias & Hannah Mahonen of Finland.
Nülo Mahonen must have attending Cushing Academy in Ashburnham MA, because the Fitchburg Sentinel newspaper of 5 June 1919 mentions Cushing Academy in Ashburnham dedicating a memorial tablet to Cushing boys who died in service including Ray R. Averill, Allyn Berrie, Warren, Cruse, Nulo Mahonen, Gordon Preston, Otis Thomas and Lewis A. Young.
It is known that he was buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn NY. That fact led me to take a look at this next document that gives me a tantalizing bit of information about Nülo Mahonen. The U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Form shows:
MAHONEN, NULON [an obvious spelling error of his first name]
Died 9 April 1917
4th Rct. Co., U.S.A.
Grave No 7586
Info taken from old card
The United States formally entered the fighting of WWI on 6 April 1917. It appears that Nülo Mahonen may have been one of the earliest recruits, wishing to serve even before he was required to. On 9 April 1917, the day he died, he would have been about 15 years old. Where and how he died is part of the mystery.
There was a Helmi Muhonen from Finland who lived in the New Ipswich NH area around the WWI era (she married Waino A. Aho), so possibly this is the New Hampshire connection. If anyone has information on Nulo Mahonen/Muhonen and his connection with New Hampshire, please leave a comment.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].